Farmers could be liable for €30k temperature fine

IRELAND - “Bureaucracy gone crazy” is how Fine Gael Deputy Denis Naughten has described indications coming from the EU Commission that farmers could face fines of up to €30,000 for minor errors such as spreading slurry on land which is one degree below six degrees Celsius.
calendar icon 15 November 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
“This is an indication of how ill-thought out the Government rules are, forcing farmers to farm by dates and burying farmers in layers of red tape as well as the courts, purely because of the lack of a sensible, straightforward, scientific basis to the implementation of the nitrates directive,” he claimed.

“These proposals are at complete variance to the commitment by Fianna Fáil as far back as April 2002, when in a submission to the IFA on General Election issues they stated, ‘Where an action programme is introduced under the (Nitrates) Directive it will be on a scientific approach and include adequate time for phased compliance by farmers.’

“The vast majority of farmers are unaware of the current law which prohibits farmers from spreading slurry outside the closed period unless ground temperatures have reached at least six degrees celsius.

“Furthermore, many farmers are unaware that by law they must now have full records of the quantities and types of concentrated feedstuff fed to grazing livestock on their farm or the quantities and types of chemical fertilisers moved on to or off the holding, including opening all fertilisers on the farm on August 1st last.

“Farmers are now facing significant jail sentences along with serious fines and yet the Government is not prepared to provide them with the information they need to ensure that they are not in breach of the new laws. Even the officials tasked with enforcing the Directive are confused when it comes to determining whether or not farmers are in breach. Farmers under the Directive are expected to second guess weather conditions such as whether or not heavy rainfall is likely or what temperature it is going to be before spreading slurry.

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